When Cornelius Vanderbilt opened his Grand Central Depot in 1871 trains could only exit in reverse. Gradually he began to lower the tracks below street level to a width of 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 tracks on the lower. Today, this Beaux-Arts landmark is more than a train terminal, it’s a cathedral with trains that has majestic staircases, magnificent arched ceilings above the main concourse, and intricate sculptures of Minerva, Hercules and Mercury. Grand Central was originally built from 1903 to 1913 and revitalized in the 1990s to restore the beauty of its structure and provide new restaurants, shops, and a market. More than 150,000 commuters pass through Grand Central every day; making it one of the world’s busiest train stations.
Location: 87 East 42nd St between Vanderbilt & Lexington
Telephone: 1 (212) 340-2583
Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M42, M101, M102, M104
Subway: to 42nd St – Grand Central plus a shuttle that runs between Grand Central and Times Square.
Hours: 24 hours daily. Little or no train traffic between midnight and 6:00am.
Visit Time: Allow at least 1 hour
Advisory: Grand Central Terminal Tour, conducted by the Municipal Art Society, every Wednesday at 12:30pm. The tour is Free; donations accepted. Call 1 (212) 935-3960 for more information and meeting place. Ask about a demonstration of Whispering Corner in front of the Oyster Bar Restaurant.
Transit Museum at Grand Central is open Mon – Fri 8:00am to 8:00pm, Sat 10:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. Call 1 (212) 878-0106 for more information.
For reservations at the Campbell Apartment; call 1 (212) 953-0409. This restaurant/bar was once the richly paneled private offices of 1920s railroad tycoon, John W. Campbell. It’s open 3:00pm to 1:00am Mon – Sat. 3:00pm to 11:00pm Sun. Best Photo Opts: For clock surrounded by monumental sculptures, cross the street or walk down Park Ave to 40th St for a dramatic shot from the approach ramp. Best Lighting Conditions: Morning or early afternoon for exterior shots.
Nearby Places of Interest:
- Chrysler Building
- United Nations Headquarters
- New York Public Library
- Bryant Park
- Morgan Library
- Times Square
- Rockefeller Center